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High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy Leaders' Statement at CoP26


Statement by the High  
Level Panel for a Sustainable  
Ocean Economy at COP26

High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy

We, the members of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel), recognise that the health of the ocean, and the livelihoods and economies that depend on it, requires the world to urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. We believe that a sustainable ocean economy can play an essential role in closing the emissions gap, while providing jobs, reducing inequality, supporting food security, sustaining biological diversity, and enhancing resilience.

On the occasion of the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, we urge all actors to join us in accelerating progress on the following key ocean-based climate actions to support the achievement of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  1. Invest in Nature-based Climate Solutions 
  2. Harness Ocean-based Renewable Energy 
  3. Decarbonise Ocean Industries 
  4. Secure Sustainable Food for the Future 
  5. Advance the Deployment of Carbon Capture and Storage 
  6. Expand Ocean Observation and Research 

These ocean-based climate actions offer significant opportunities to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and form the basis for a sustainable ocean economy. Ocean Panel commissioned research found that ocean-based climate actions can deliver up to a fifth (21% or 11 GtCO2) of the annual greenhouse gas emissions cuts needed to limit global temperature rise by 1.5℃ by 2050. Additional Ocean Panel commissioned research found that investing US$1 in ocean-based climate actions can yield at least US$5 in global benefits over the next thirty years.[1]

As the Ocean Panel, we have committed to develop and be guided by Sustainable Ocean Plans within five years, with the aim of sustainably managing 100% of the ocean area under our national jurisdiction, and identified transformative priority actions. These commitments will contribute to a sustainable ocean economy that can tackle climate change head on. This transformation is vital for a sustainable and equitable relationship between people and planet—the entire blue planet.

We have a collective opportunity and responsibility to protect and restore the health of our ocean and build a sustainable ocean economy that can provide food, empower vulnerable coastal communities and Small Island Developing States, power our cities, transport our people and goods and provide innovative solutions to the global challenge of climate change.  

In accepting this responsibility and seizing this opportunity, we can give a blue boost to our economies and improve the welfare of our people today while building resilience for the future. 

We urge all actors to join us in this endeavour to ensure that the ocean and the ocean economy continue to play a vital and sustained role in tackling climate change. 

Scott Morrison   
Prime Minister of Australia  
Uhuru Kenyatta   
President of Kenya  
Justin Trudeau  
Prime Minister of Canada  
Andrés Manuel López Obrador 
President of Mexico  
Sebastián Piñera   
President of Chile  
Hage Gottfried Geingob   
President of Namibia  
Frank Bainimarama  
Prime Minister of Fiji  
Jonas Gahr Støre   
Prime Minister of Norway  
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo   
President of Ghana  
Surangel Whipps, Jr.   
President of Palau  
Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo   
President of Indonesia  
António Costa   
Prime Minister of Portugal  
Andrew Michael Holness  
Prime Minister of Jamaica
Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
President of the United States of America
Fumio Kishida   
Prime Minister of Japan  

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Cover image of the leaders statement